I share, for your possible interest, the following memorandum. You will find
it circulating on a growing number of websites devoted to religious education
and home schooling. I understand that a related infomercial is in the works,
likely to show up soon on targeted cable TV channels.
THE GREATEST BREAKTHROUGH IN ABSTINENCE TRAINING
Yes, my friends, we have finally found our secret elixir, our holy grail. We now
can share a pedagogical method for abstinence training with proven long-term
results. Even the horniest teenagers have been subdued by its unparalleled
We call our program the Burroughs Extended Abstience Technique
(BEAT). It draws on the briliant insights of William S. Burroughs (1914-1997),
a Harvard-trained anthropologist who outlined the BEAT approach in a series
of innovative books and lectures. His research involved extensive empirical
testing in Mexico City, London, Berlin, Morocco and Paris, and earned him
a number of honors and awards, as well as a conviction on manslaughter
charges (Mexico City, 1951).
We have tested several of these books in classroom settings, including
The Naked Lunch (1959), The Soft Machine (1961) and Nova Express
(1964). But we have found that the most successful results are obtained
via The Ticket That Exploded (1962, revised 1967).
All citations below are from that work, which we now
use as the standard text in our sex abstinence courses
As Mr. Burroughs himself wisely tells us at the outset
of his book: “inoculation is the weapon of choice
against virus and inoculation can only be effected
through exposure…exposure to the pleasures offered
under enemy conditions.” [p. 10] To this end, Burroughs
developed an indoctrination program built on taped
repetitive messages. "Anyone with a tape recorder
controlling the sound track," he reminds us, "can
influence and create events." [p.207] These recordings,
he noted, can be "cut into short sections and spliced
in together. This produces a strong erotic reaction." [p. 18]
Fortunately for us, technology has advanced since Burroughs developed
his BEAT technique, and we no longer need rely on cumbersome tape
splicing and bulky equipment. The BEAT program can now be implemented
anywhere—via your child’s phone or other handheld device. We are in
the process of designing a series of apps that will make access to BEAT
as simple as the click of a mouse or stroke of a finger.
But first, the trigger warning…..Many students have found the Burroughs
abstinence program distasteful and shocking. But their objections must
be overruled, because the efficacious application of the method draws on
precisely these elements. If students persist in their complaints, ask the
troublemakers whether they want to turn into what Burroughs describes
as "orgasm addicts stacked in rubbish heaps like muttering burlap"? [p. 8]
Of course not!
We begin each class session by group repetition of Mr. Burroughs'
definitions of terms. To whit, his astute descriptions of the essence
of sexual union. These are recited by teacher and students in the form
of questions and answers.
TEACHER: Students, according to the sage and master, the venerable
Burroughs, what is sex?
STUDENTS (in unison): Burroughs tell us "All human sex is this
unsanitary arrangement whereby two entities attempt to occupy the
same three-dimensional coordinate points giving rise to the sordid
latrine brawls which have characterized a planet based on 'the Word,'
that is on separate flesh engaged in endless sexual conflict." [p. 52]
TEACHER: Very good, students! Now what are the main elements of
STUDENTS (in unison): Burroughs tells us "Destructive elements enter
into so-called normal sexual relations: the desire to dominate, to kill, to
take over and eat the partner." [p. 20]
TEACHER: Excellent. Not what happens during orgasm?
STUDENTS (in unison): "The skin glows phosphorescent pink purple
suffused by a cold menthol burn so sensitive he went into orgasms at
a current of air while uncontrolled diarrhea exploded down his thighs."
TEACHER: Correct! What happens after orgasm?
STUDENTS (in unison): "Scalding urine spurted from his penis –
The Other Half swirled in the air above him screaming, face contorted
in suffocation as he laughed the sex words from throat gristle in
bloody crystal blobs." [p. 43]
And so on and so forth. The results of this system of indoctrination are
remarkable. More than 80% of students who participate in the entire
program abstain entirely from sex during the next 12 months, and many
of our earliest test subjects are still celibate today.
Why does this program work so well? Burroughs outlines the essence of
his method, which he calls the "nova technique," in his text. Its basic
premise is to undermine adversaries by inculcating internal conflicts
in their ranks. "The basic nova technique is very simple," Burroughs
writes. "Always create as many insoluble conflicts as possible and
always aggravate existing conflicts." BEAT applies the Nova approach
in every segment of the program.
Teachers of the Burroughs abstinence program have found that
memorization exercises are especially effective in this regard.
Hook-ups and "friends with benefits" will soon become things of the
past if you insist that your youngsters memorize and repeat daily the
"I love you I love you and bones tearing his insides apart for the ants
to eat." [p. 45]
"They got this awful mollusk eats the hanged boys body and soul in
the orgasm and they love being eaten because of this liquefying gook
it secretes and rubs all over them." [p. 4]
"Ejaculated in stale underwear during execution, shirt flapping, pants
slide—substitute excrement slipping through legs." [p. 71.]
But wait, there’s more!
We especially recommend pages 70 through 100 of The Ticket That
Exploded, where Burroughs provides detailed descriptions of his
innovative sex positions and maneuvers. We have found that students
forced to study these passages become committed abstainers, avoiding
both impure acts and impure thoughts.
A summary of this section of the text would hardly do justice to Mr.
Burroughs' shrewd understanding of behavior modification techniques.
But here are a few of the recommended sexual positions, to give you
some idea of the man’s genius:
"They masturbate from bicycles on the wire from tumbler pyramids and
in the air of trapeze acts." [p. 75]
Or this example of sex in a high-speed roller coaster: "We came together
on the first dip as train roared up the other side throwing blood back into
our drained genitals shirts flapping over the midway." [p. 75]
Or this exercise in ultra-kinky kinkiness: "In the final stages he is literally
eaten alive by his invisible partner and subsides into the state of an insect
larva paralyzed, slobbering and covered by a caustic green slime that
seeps from the rectum." [p. 96]
Because of the outer space and sci-fi angles incorporated into Burroughs'
text, the book can even be incorporated into science classes—and what
better place to inculcate attitudes of abstinence than classrooms devoted
to human biology and the disinterested contemplation of divine creation.
Enliven astronomy lectures with public recitations of passages such as
this one: “He was back in the brown canals of Mars in the grip of a giant
clam, which takes a week to satisfy its consuming sex habit and spits
out its unfortunate victim covered with its discharge like a gelatinous pearl
on the dry red sands." [p. 86]
And if you order The Ticket That Exploded within the next 24 hours, we
will also include a copy of The Soft Machine free of charge. Purchase
copies for the entire classroom, and we will also treat you to The Naked
Lunch. Operators are waiting by the phone for your call…..
Ted Gioia writes on books, music and popular culture. His next book,
Love Songs: The Hidden History, will be published by Oxford University Press.
This essay was published on June 10, 2014
a website devoted to radical,
unconventional and experimental
fiction with a particular focus on the
rise of modernism and its aftermath.
WILLIAMS BURROUGHS, ABSTINENCE TEACHER
A New Reading of The Ticket That Exploded
by Ted Gioia